China faces challenges with clean transportation goalsSeptember 25, 2013
Clean transportation in China hits a roadblock
China has shown a great deal of interest in clean transportation in recent years. Much of this interest comes from a desire to reduce the use of fossil-fuels in transportation and cut down on the emissions that vehicles are responsible for. Three years ago, China announced a plan to bring 500,000 electric vehicles to its roads by 2015, but only 40,000 of these vehicles have actually made it that far. China has made relatively little progress toward its clean transportation goals, but the country is not keen to back down from the challenge it set for itself.
Government renews subsidies for electric vehicles
Earlier this month, the Chinese government renewed the subsidies it offers to promote the adoption of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. The subsidies are meant to offset the costs associated with purchasing new electric vehicles. For conventional electric vehicles, the government offers $9,800 to consumers, with $5,700 provided for plug-in hybrids and nearly $81,000 for vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The government hopes that the subsidies will kick start the mass adoption of clean vehicles, but some suggest that this will not be the case.
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Country’s goals may be too lofty
Wu Feng, one of the Chinese government’s chief scientists, suggests that the government’s plans for clean transportation may be too ambitious. Feng claims that those that set the country’s clean transportation standards three years ago failed to understand the scope of the endeavor and the effort needed to see it fulfilled. According to Feng, the goals relied heavily on scientists’ ability to improve the capability of battery technology, improving the capacity of batteries and making them more viable for transportation. Over the past three years, battery technology has become more advanced, but has not yet reached the high standard that has been established by the Chinese government.
Officials work to establish more realistic clean transportation goals
The challenges facing clean transportation have not gone unnoticed by the government, of course. Chinese officials are currently working to develop a more practical goal in regards to clean transportation. The government has also been working to improve the infrastructure that would support clean vehicles, building new hydrogen fuel stations and electric charging stations in large cities throughout the country.